Kochi- Queen of The Arabian Sea

Along with a few dear ones I was on my way to Kochi a few months ago for a friend’s wedding with a hidden agenda of exploring the place. After an exhausting long night’s drive from Bangalore, we finally reached on time for breakfast and were immediately tasked with adorning ourselves with some appropriate attires for the wedding. Once we were satisfied with how we looked, we dared to step out of the comforts of the AC and fans in the room into the Vessel of Humidity! Since it was all for a cause we didn’t mind; The noble cause of watching a friend succumb to love. After a heavy meal of authentic Kerala cuisine entailing some payasam, avial, boiled rice, sambar, parippu curry and pappadam we blessed (read made complete fun of) the happy couple and dragged our tired feet that were carrying the heavy load of ourselves back to the hotel and crashed.

An hour later all of us (at least some of us) were all energised to go explore the city of ports. So within minutes I found myself behind the wheels with a navigator by my side. With an entertainer, an enthusiast and an obligated soul in the back seat , we were on our way. All the excitement in our hearts were instantly replaced with the worry from the traffic on the ‘oh! so tiny roads’. Everyone there drives oblivious to the fact that there are other people on the same road too. So after what seemed like a decade we arrived at Fort Kochi- the quaint part of this city. As luck would have it all the touristy spots such as the Dutch Palace, the Synagogue closes at 5. So we just went and stood by the port to admire the waters and nature decided to humor us by sending in some rains! If the 5” wide roads with a drunken rickshaw driver failed to dampen our spirits a little rain would indubitably not win. Someone rightly said where there’s a will there’s a way and where there’s 5 empty stomachs there’s always a restaurant with delicious food! Having eaten till our throats fill 😛 at a very hospitable restaurant called Raintree, we enjoyed our drive back on the empty roads since it was pretty late.

The following day had me excited like a kid with an ice cream! We were shifting hotels from inside the town to Fort Kochi and the route google maps suggested us involved our car to travel in a ferry, YAY!! The Bollywood  aathma in me wanted to step from the car on to the ferry while in motion and feel the breeze in the hair with arms extended out, welcoming the nature….. SCREEEECCHHHH!! Cut to reality, after 1.5 hours of wait to get on to the ferry, it started pouring cats and dogs and we couldn’t even see what’s outside let alone stepping out. After what seemed like a week, we finally reached our hotel and some of us had to work while the other were lazing around for a bit before heading out for some beer in the hot weather.

While enjoying that evening with friends at a beautiful (Insert the clichéd word-Serendipitous)  restaurant called Seagull in Kochi after the busy day of work, there was suddenly a loud siren that made our heads turn, that’s when my attention was diverted from the noisy table to the not so huge ship that was gliding past us on the dark waters suddenly filling it with so much light reassuring the fact that “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” Well it was not exactly the sun, but have you tried staring into the blazing light coming from a ship at night? We sat here for many hours, up until the point that we had no choice but to leave. The rains really did love us there, for it left us soaking wet before we could call it a night.

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The next day, being our last day in Kochi we decided to finally try some tourist spots, but as luck would have it, the traffic wasn’t in our favour, and we had to retreat and we made our way to a café about 30kms from Fort Kochi. I would be lying if I said I didn’t curse my friend whose idea this was to drive all the way down to go to one café and then drive all the way back in the opposite direction. But the moment I set foot inside, my thoughts were completely reversed. Set on the banks of the Periyar river, this café is the epitome of peace. And a paradise for artists hence the name “Panchamama Art Café”. With a tiny tree house, surplus breeze, lip-smacking food, and friendly staff this cafe was definitely the highlight of the entire trip. There is a Geodesic Dome in this cafe which definitely had us spell-bound! These are thin shell structures that are capable of withstanding heavy loads for their size. Now what is fascinating is its acoustics. Make any sound standing at the centre and listen to the surround effect that follows. The kid in us was very excited and kept us involved in this activity for quite some time.

After eating to our stomach’s full and absorbing the place to our hearts full we got back on the road to a friend’s parents house in a town about a 100 kms away called Mavelikara. The name means the land of Mahabali, the mythical King of Kerala. The heart warming smiles on his family’s faces the hot and delicious food on the table were more than welcoming after a really long day and drive. So much so that some of us lost tab of how much we ate and if we had spared anything for the family to eat. Having bid good byes to this sweet family the following day at the first break of light, we set out our not so far (637 Kms Only!) drive back to Bangalore. We reached Bangalore exhausted but with memories made and lessons learnt!

Must Dos
  • A stroll by the waters at Fort Kochi
  • Chocolate cake in Kashi Art Cafe
  • Dinner at Seagull Restaurant
  • Lunch at Panchamama Art Cafe
  • Be Really careful; Really Really careful while driving here
Touristy Things To Do 
  • Santa Cruz Cathedral
  • Muziris biennale
  • Paradise Synagogue
  • Apinwall House
  • Lulu Mall
Nearby Tourist Places
  • Kumarakom (Around 56 Kms)
  • Alleppey (Around 63 Kms)
  • Athirapally Waterfalls (Around 73 Kms)
  • Guruvayoor (Around 81 Kms)
Free Advice
  • Best time to visit is between October to March
  • Be mindful of the fellow drivers on the road, we got into a nasty accident. Well the accident wasn’t nasty, it was the repercussions of it. Trust me you don’t wanna be there

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In a night of stygian tenebrosity,

Treading on the dock glaring at the ripples in the water,

While delving within for a dash of lustre,

With hope dwindling by the every passing moment,

There’s radiance! Sweeping by its trice,

Engulfing the darkness into its bosom,

Questioning its very existence!

Such is the surge of emotions ,

That overwhelms the conscious!

 

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